Electronics History

Thread Starter

ApacheKid

Joined Jan 12, 2015
1,669
As I begin to plod through my sixties, I wonder if the admins would agree that a section on History of electronics would be worth setting up in the forum? The industry has advanced hugely over the years and I'm sure many of the frequenters to this site have something to add, stuff that might otherwise simply be lost...
 

k1ng 1337

Joined Sep 11, 2020
1,014
Great idea. I like learning about the history of technology almost as much as using technology itself.

The project would be a tall order as there have been many contributors from many fields. However, finding the historical information for each wouldn't be difficult with the use of Wikipedia and other resources.

One template could be the top 100 most influential people and their contributions from the last 50 years. I'd definitely be interested in learning how advances in engineering, physics, chemistry and philosophy have made electronics what it is today.
 

Thread Starter

ApacheKid

Joined Jan 12, 2015
1,669
Great idea. I like learning about the history of technology almost as much as using technology itself.

The project would be a tall order as there have been many contributors from many fields. However, finding the historical information for each wouldn't be difficult with the use of Wikipedia and other resources.

One template could be the top 100 most influential people and their contributions from the last 50 years. I'd definitely be interested in learning how advances in engineering, physics, chemistry and philosophy have made electronics what it is today.
Many people here are seasoned pros, some with decades of experience. They've seen trends and fads come and go, and so their experiences and memories are valuable history.
 

crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
34,837
Well, I've been there from the invention of the first transistor by Bell Labs, through the present day chips with several billion (!) transistors, along with the first 4-bit, 2300 transistor, single-chip microprocessor (Intel 4004, $450 at todays prices), to the 64-bit, billion transistor monsters, of today.
Also from the Arpanet with several nodes connecting a few remote academic computers over telephone lines (which I actually used at work), which morphed into the Internet with 100 million servers connecting about a billion computers around the world.
It's been quite a ride.
 

schmitt trigger

Joined Jul 12, 2010
952
In the early 1980s, Electronics magazine, remember it?, published a very interesting book about the history of electronics.
Although it would be quite dated nowadays, it would nevertheless serve as a foundation for any such project.
 

Thread Starter

ApacheKid

Joined Jan 12, 2015
1,669
In the early 1980s, Electronics magazine, remember it?, published a very interesting book about the history of electronics.
Although it would be quite dated nowadays, it would nevertheless serve as a foundation for any such project.
No, would this be a US magazine?
 

Thread Starter

ApacheKid

Joined Jan 12, 2015
1,669
Well, I've been there from the invention of the first transistor by Bell Labs, through the present day chips with several billion (!) transistors, along with the first 4-bit, 2300 transistor, single-chip microprocessor (Intel 4004, $450 at todays prices), to the 64-bit, billion transistor monsters, of today.
Also from the Arpanet with several nodes connecting a few remote academic computers over telephone lines (which I actually used at work), which morphed into the Internet with 100 million servers connecting about a billion computers around the world.
It's been quite a ride.
Your life experiences then are exactly what we need to capture and preserve! I was born in England in 1959 and radio was my introduction to electronics when I was about 14. I remember reading excitedly about the invention of the transistor and I recall seeing the first use of ICs in hobby magazines during my teens.

But I'm a "youngster", I'd love to hear of your recollections, this is the kind of thing I meant by a history section, a place for older folk to recite their recollections and experiences.
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
5,078
I would add to that "Much Ado About Almost Nothing" by Hans Camenzind. Hans is the inventor of the 555 timer. A nice brief history of Electricity and Electronics.
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Thread Starter

ApacheKid

Joined Jan 12, 2015
1,669
If you haven’t read Crystal Fire I strongly recommend it. It was integrated into the undergrad EE program at my university*.
*where I was staff, not a student
I've never heard of this book, many thanks, I'll get a copy, I really enjoy this kind of technology history. A great book I got some years ago which is about the development of the IC was "unputdownable" for me, called simply The Chip.
 

Thread Starter

ApacheKid

Joined Jan 12, 2015
1,669
Another truly remarkable book is all about the history of the early British Radio Industry, I've rarely come across a technology history book that is so thoroughly researched and has so much detail. This is without doubt one of the best technology history books you'll find, I think you'll be blown away by the amount of detail, dates, long forgotten firms and names and movers and shakers of the day, lots of photographs of people, radios, factories and more, it's almost 500 pages too, not a superficial book by any means.

The Setmakers.
 
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Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
9,264
I've never heard of this book, many thanks, I'll get a copy, I really enjoy this kind of technology history. A great book I got some years ago which is about the development of the IC was "unputdownable" for me, called simply The Chip.
I am almost certain you will enjoy Crystal Fire. It is well written in terms of including both the technical and human aspects of the history.
 

Thread Starter

ApacheKid

Joined Jan 12, 2015
1,669
I am almost certain you will enjoy Crystal Fire. It is well written in terms of including both the technical and human aspects of the history.
You are no doubt correct, the book arrived yesterday (it was a used book, from Amazon) and it was clear within a few seconds as I thumbed through, that this was a classic, EXACTLY the kind of book I adore yet find increasingly hard to find these days so thank you for the recommendation.

Based on this I am confident too that you would enjoy The Setmakers if you can get a copy. This too is superbly researched and detailed and full of facts and names and dates, highly absorbing history of radio manufacture and development in Britain and Western Europe from the technology's inception.
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
7,579
Growing up NYC had one big advantage and that was the 1963 / 1964 Worlds Fair was a few miles from me so as kids While not exactly on topic one main attraction was the GE (General Electric) Carousel of Progress. This later became Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress. Years later I saw it turn up in Disneyland (Anaheim CA. and decades later it also turned up in Disney World Orlando FL. The cool part was every decade or so the carousel needed another section added. An electrical progress show it was and we are still progressing. I have a lovely Atwater Kent radio upstairs. :)

As I begin to plod through my sixties, I wonder if the admins would agree that a section on History of electronics would be worth setting up in the forum? The industry has advanced hugely over the years and I'm sure many of the frequenters to this site have something to add, stuff that might otherwise simply be lost...
Yes, I see it as a really good idea as a forums addition.

Ron
 

Thread Starter

ApacheKid

Joined Jan 12, 2015
1,669
Growing up NYC had one big advantage and that was the 1963 / 1964 Worlds Fair was a few miles from me so as kids While not exactly on topic one main attraction was the GE (General Electric) Carousel of Progress. This later became Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress. Years later I saw it turn up in Disneyland (Anaheim CA. and decades later it also turned up in Disney World Orlando FL. The cool part was every decade or so the carousel needed another section added. An electrical progress show it was and we are still progressing. I have a lovely Atwater Kent radio upstairs. :)



Yes, I see it as a really good idea as a forums addition.

Ron
That's interesting stuff, I've heard of those fairs, Britain used to have them too but I think they are a thing of the past. Speaking of old radios, I lived in Wilmington DE for a few years after meeting my now wife. It was a lovely leafy old district, great old antique stores and stuff. I once stumbled upon a tiny store that had several old radios, I bought three but this is the most interesting one:

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